LIVINGSTON -- Follow-ing two days of testimony in the 258th District Court, a Polk County jury deliberated only about 20 minutes Wednesday before finding Ricky Ray Martinez, 42, of Onalaska guilty of the aggravated sexual assault of a child.
A punishment hearing on the first-degree felony conviction immediately following the guilty verdict and, after a short deliberation, the same jury assessed Martinez’ punishment at 99 years of confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
Evidence presented at trial established that during 2014 Martinez had repeatedly sexually abused his 11-year-old stepdaughter at a Livingston residence while the victim’s mother was at work. The victim, who testified during the trial, had originally reported the sexual molestation to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department in January 2016 while living with her grandparents and was interviewed by a forensic interviewer at Children’s Safe Harbor, a Children’s Advocacy Center in Conroe.
The matter was subsequently referred to the Livingston Police Department where a follow-up investigation was conducted by Detective Leon Middleton and a Polk County grand jury indictment was returned in April 2016.
In addition to the testimony of the victim, Polk County assistant district attorneys Kari Allen and Nicole Washington presented testimony regarding the child’s outcry of abuse from the victim’s grandparents and mother; as well as expert testimony from the forensic interviewer.
Under Texas law, Martinez will not become eligible for parole consideration until he has served a minimum of 30 years in prison. He will also be subject to lifetime registration as a Sex Offender.
Following the verdict and sentence, Allen commended the young victim for “having the courage to come forward to report the abuse,” and thanked the “police officers and child victims’ advocates who worked hard to obtain justice in this case.”
Allen also expressed gratitude to the Polk County jurors who “sat through this difficult testimony and returned a verdict which will hopefully send a loud message that the citizens of Polk County have no tolerance for the victimization or sexual exploitation of our children.”